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A hostile relationship with your ex can complicate co-parenting

There was a time in history when children were little more than property. When parents divorced, the children stayed with the father since the law forbid women from owning property. Thankfully, those laws are far behind us, and children now receive the consideration and protection they deserve during the divorce process.

While it is still common for some courts to assume the children are better off with their mothers, with fathers receiving limited visitation, most family courts in New Hampshire attempt to reach as fair and equitable a custody plan as possible. However, this may provide little comfort if you and your ex cannot stand each other.

Establishing rules

Hostility that contributed to the breakup of your marriage is not going to disappear just because you have a child to co-parent. While your negative feelings for your spouse may fade as time passes, immediately following your divorce is a period of critical adjustment for you and for your child. You may find it is best for all if you set specific boundaries that can minimize the time you must spend communicating with your ex. Some important boundaries include the following:

  • Routines and discipline for your child
  • Consistency of rules whether the child is at your house or your ex's
  • Boundaries with your ex, such as when and how your ex may contact you
  • Bans on any disrespectful talk about your ex, including forbidding your child to badmouth their other parent
  • A resolution to take the high road for the sake of your child when custody issues could lead to conflict

Keeping a careful log of your interactions with your ex may come in handy if you ever need to bring custody matters back into the courtroom. You may also wish to explore the many online options for custody scheduling that may help you avoid contact with your ex while emotions are still high.

Ideally, you and your ex will fall into a routine that will benefit you and the child as much as possible. You may even find it gets easier to attend school functions together or to work together to plan events like birthday parties and holidays. For now, you should feel free to make your situation as peaceful as you can while protecting your child's best interest. You can also reach out for legal advice if you ever feel your ex's behavior jeopardizes your parental rights.

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